Chance of a Lifetime!
Saturday, January 9, 2010 at 10:32PM
Joe Perry in Railfanning Trip, Railroad Photography, Union Pacific, Yuma Subdivision

After our recent jaunt out to the furthest reaches of the Needles Subdivision, I spent the next two days refitting and refueling our rig, doing some anaylsis and post-processing of the photos from that trip.  I eagerly looked forward to spending the last four days of my vacation doing mostly nothing except getting caught up on the NHL games spilling out of my DVR and reading some.

Tonight I made the mistake of, or had the good fortune of, learning that the Union Pacific was running a HUGE test train (IDILBF-08) from Dallas, TX to Long Beach, CA (The outcome and net result remains to be seen).  It sounded intriguing so I took a closer look at the schedule and routing of the train.

Holy smokes!  The train is currently scheduled to leave Yuma, AZ around 5:00 AM tomorrow morning bound for Long Beach, CA over the Yuma Subdivision.  The details of the train are staggering!  295 Loads, 0 Empties, 15,498 Tons, and 18,061 Feet!  That’s over 3.4 miles long!

In the 30+ years that I have been chasing steel I have NEVER seen a train that long.  This I have to see firsthand.  I have since broken out the timetables, maps, and assorted planning tools to see what I can do.  Turns out I can chase this train and we should get good light throughout the run from Yuma.

“Deb,” I yelled to my wife, “pack up again.  We are heading back out!”  

“Whaaatt?” She exclaimed.  I explained the significance of the opportunity and she is now fully on board.  I am going to pack up the rig and head out as soon as I can.  I hope we have good luck and get the shots that we want.

See ya!  Yuma-bound!  More to follow…

Article originally appeared on railroad photography and blog by joe perry (
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